How much should a business owner work?

Are you the first one in the office and the last one to leave? Do your employees wait for the hand on the clock to hit 5 and they are already gone by 5:01?

You, on the other hand, don’t leave the office until 7 and you’re up until midnight answering emails from earlier in the day.

So here’s the question — how much should a business owner work? What’s acceptable? They run the joint, shouldn’t they get to work as little or as many hours as they want? Or should they work the most because it’s their business?

Well, we asked. In our last study of small business owners, Movers and Head Shakers, we asked them about how much they work, and compared it to their sales growth.

how much business owners workThe study was divided into two groups of business owners — Movers, business owners with growing companies (5%+ growth since 2008), and Head Shakers (Less than 5%). Of the Movers, the majority of them had over 28% increase in sales.

We found that most business owners work around 50 hours a week. We also found that Movers worked more — a lot more than Head Shakers.

So my question is, how many hours do you think the business owner should work? More than their employees? Less than their employees?

Devan Perine

Devan Perine works with small business owners on their marketing and multimedia efforts. She's passionate about helping businesses build their presence online, and giving Gen Y a voice in the workplace. When she's not working, she loves to make a mess in the kitchen, and play with her band around Chicago. She loves to chat! Give her a shout on Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn.


  1. jdurocher1973 says:

    I don’t think these stats on number of hours worked differs any from what full time salaried employees would report. The majority of people are generally expected to work 40 hour workweeks often report they work more than 40 hours. Whether that is true or not remains to be seen, but it is interesting that the group with the lowest business growth *claims* to work 50 hours a week, much more than the higher growth business owners.

    • Thanks for your comment! :)

      Movers (biz owners of growing companies) altogether work a lot more than Head Shakers with 55-65+ hours a week. And Head Shakers work a bit less hours in comparison to Moves in the 40 hours and below area.

      It’s interesting that there’s a correlation between the business owners who work the most have growing companies, and the ones who work the least have declining sales growth.

Speak Your Mind